JournalCon 2004 -- 08/23/04

Okay, I'm semi-awake -- so let me tell you about JournalCon 2004..

Last night I posted a couple of pictures of The Matthew Show (I believe he has some sound files on his Web site if you wanted to hear what he sounds like). However, in between the complementary champagne and The Matthew Show was maybe an hour and a half of mingling and chic-chatting and reunions of people who knew each other from previous JournalCons and oh-so-that's-who-you-are greetings between people who only knew each other through the Internet. Nancy and I didn't know any of these people (well, especially true for Nancy, who does relatively little reading of online journals) -- but I introduced myself to Bozoette and was looking around trying to read name tags -- which often contained URLs or journal names -- note to future JournalCon organizers: use large bold type for this so that (depending on whether nametags were pinned on or worn on lanyards) they could be more easily read without giving the appearance that you had an unseemly interest in people's boobs or stomachs. Someone began talking to us and I instantly knew without reading her nametag that this had to be Cosmicrayola (another Rhode Island journaler whom I had never met even though we must live only fifteen or twenty miles from each other)

Anyway, we wandered through the cocktail lounge into an outdoor courtyard where clumps of jounalers were in intense conversations -- two women waved us over to join them at their table -- so we got to meet Danielle and Lobsterchick (this picture was taken later that evening at dinner). Danielle is a teacher so I think she and Nancy had to fight a temptation to slide off into shop talk. The four of us had a very pleasant conversation, varying from online journaling to living in upstate New York vs. Rhode Island vs. the greater metro-DC area to trying to write novels as part of NaNoWriMo .

Bozoette was attempting to organize NaNoWriMo survivors to go out to dinner (she has published the novel she wrote for NaNoWriMo). The four of us joined the group and about a dozen of us headed off to Logan's Pub (or some similar name) a few blocks from the hotel. It was at least nine o'clock when we got there and the place was very full and very busy -- we were told that there would probably be a half an hour wait before they could seat a group our size. Okay, no problem for me... I went to the bar and got a beer. When I came back I found that the decision had been made to split up in order to get faster seating. I would have preferred waiting to get a table for twelve but I figured Nancy must be very tired and probably hungry as well... but the food was tasty and the four of us enjoyed ourselves.
Okay -- here are some of the others who went out to dinner Friday night -- although reading certain journals *grin* confirms that at least some of these people got pretty drunk Friday night, I only had a couple of glasses of champagne and three beers and yet I could not properly label this picture (thank you Bozoette Mary for helping me get the names straight). There are five and a half people in the picture (hey, I started with all six in the viewfinder but then Ethne leaned back out of the frame to take a picture herself) -- anyway, we have half of Ethne and then Bellwether and Jeanene and Bozoette and Petrouchka and Minerae.

Note: Many of these links no longer work; you will only get bogus advertising pages, etc. (Thus, if I am not telling you here that their old address is still good or that they have a new good address, don't bother clicking on their old links unless you really feel like reading advertisements for online gambling, etc.) Danielle still writes at the same address. Lobsterchick has not updated in years.. Some of these people dropped their pages for a while and may have restarted, but I have lost track. Bozoette has switched to using Typepad and you can find her at her Red Nose site. Dan and Whitney (see two paragraphs down) are still online and their links still work. Miriam is also still online but she has stopped updating the site linked to below and is now blogging as Fauxklore at Livejournal. The wise and witty Cosmicrayola (in the photo at the end of this entry) died in June of 2009. Diane (summer-gale) is now writing as H2Odragon at Diaryland, but has been letting long periods of time pass between entries..

Saturday began with coffee and juice and pastries (3 cheers for the JournalCon organizers!) and then a general session ("State of the Union") intended as an ice breaker. (No, I don't always babble as incoherently when talking to a group as I did then -- I really am accustomed to public speaking -- No, really, I am....) That was followed by a panel discussion on personal and professional writing by four people who are professional freelance journalists (one of them is also a business reporter for a national newspaper) and who also have online journals or blogs. I won a copy of The Renegade Writer: A Totally Unconventional Guide to Freelance Writing Success, co-authored by one of the panelists. (I've already read a large chunk of it -- It's well-written and it strikes me as providing very useful and practical advice.)

Went to lunch (hiked up to Dupont Circle, to a book store that is also a restaurant -- good food) with Miriam (see picture) and Whitney and Dan. (Dan, by the way, came close to keeping me from being the oldest attendee at JournalCon, but he is a month younger than me.)

Three very interesting lunch companions... Dan, a retired rocket scientist (really), and Whitney, a witty and amusing young mom who does both blogging and journaling, and Miriam, another rocket scientist (well, close enough, she has a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering) whose hobbies include traveling to interesting places around the world.

Then back to the Hotel Helix for the afternoon panels. (Meanwhile, Nancy was off enjoying museum heaven.)
Afternoon sessions were cool [note to future JournalCon organizers: have coffee available for afternoon sessions, for many attendees this is somewhere between a medical necessity and a religious mandate] except since there were two different sessions going on simultaneously (without TiVo) which meant having to choose between political journals/blogs and secret journaling; between legal issues and sex journaling; between search engines and weight loss. (I selected the first option in each pairing.) I'm not going to attempt to summarize three different hour long panel discussions. I will just mention that I still feel like a fool from when, in the political session, I framed a question that referred to Glenn Reynolds ( Instapundit) but I confused everyone by repeatedly calling him Gene Reynolds either because I was conflating his name with that of Eugene Volokh and/or Bill Reynolds (who is a sports columnist for the Providence Journal). Duh. (I told you coffee was needed at the afternoon sessions!) Anyway, I have now ended up with a new political/current news blog to follow, that of Kevin Aylward (who was one of the political journaling/blogging panelists).

I blew off the Open Readings -- well, first I absolutely had to go down to the corner to a Caribou Coffee shop to get a cappuccino (with an extra espresso shot) -- and when I came back they were not in the room indicated on the program and (although there were only two other possible conference rooms for them to be in) I called Nancy on her cell phone. She was at the Museum of Natural History and told me that instead of closing at five, the museum would be open until 7:30 p.m. and that she thought I would like the In Stabiano exhibit (all about excavating and restoring the villas at Stabiano (which, like the better-known Pompeii and Herculaneum, was buried by the first century Vesuvian eruption). So I scurried on down to the Mall and met Nancy by the elephant in the rotunda. The Stabiano exhibit was, indeed, worth seeing. After the museums closed we made our way back to Dupont Circle, did a little shopping in a CVS (I needed new batteries for my digital camera, etc.), ate some dinner...
Stopped at Caribou Coffee where Nancy had some kind of green tea slushy with a shot of cherry juice and I (who, except for an occasional cappuccino, am strictly a black coffee drinker) got something the barista recommended that included coffee and whipped cream and blueberry syrup and... well, I'm not exactly sure, but it was delicious. (It's a good thing there is not o ne of these places in my neighborhood.)
I understand that there were both organizational and technical difficulties with the Karaoke session at H amburger Mary's, but we skipped that so I only have hearsay to go by. On Sunday morning breakfast was followed by a session of invited readings. I missed the beginning but enjoyed and appreciated all of the ones I heard. This was followed by a choice of two panel discussions -- one on parenting and journaling and the other on website makeovers. I think there was a business session following that (dealing with the process of bidding for JournalCon 2005) but I had to check out of the hotel, get our suitcase and my backpack to Union Station (to be stored for three hours) and then get to the Air and Space Museum to meet Nancy. She was touring the museums with her brother and his wife plus a niece and her husband and their three kids. We connected up, had some fun, then Nancy and I had to get to our train (stopping on the way to take a quick look at the Postal Museum, located next to Union Station).

Just two more pictures -- Cosmicrayola and summer-gale in front of the hotel -- and, on the right, a picture of the Hotel Helix.

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